Menu
The customer isn't always right

The customer isn't always right

Take pity on the PC bargain hunters. If they get treated like I was recently, that is. It all started when I decided to update a well-known piece of Australian-made home workshop equipment.

I'd had my first model for many years, and when the new, improved version was released, I gave in to temptation and decided to upgrade. After finding someone willing to buy the old version, I started price shopping. After finding that the RRP seemed to be $489 (the manufacturer declined to quote an RRP to an end user) I rang the nearby hardware shops. The best price I could find was $469. That equates to a 4 per cent reduction.

Not satisfied, I checked the weekly Trading Post on the Internet (www.tradingpost.com.au) and found three or four Sydney-based hardware shops offering low prices. The one that boasted the lowest possible price quoted $450, while the next two quoted $445 and $440 respectively.

I then logged onto the manufacturer's site, and left a message asking what sort of street prices I could expect, and if possible, the names of two or three Sydney shops which were known to offer the lowest prices. I got a prompt, courteous reply that told me what the company person had seen in Melbourne. "The lowest I've seen here is $469 from XXXXX." He then gave me the Sydney number for his firm and suggested I ring there for local information.

That's when I got in trouble. The woman who took my call in Sydney told me I was very rude trying to pay any less than whatever my local hardware shop was asking. She added that it was a quality, Australian product, and was well worth the full retail price. She then went on for a couple of minutes to complain about shops that undercut each other, advertised unauthorised discount prices and so on. I explained to her that I largely understood her point of view, but as the buyer, I also had a right to seek a good price.

In the end I went to the closest local hardware store - part of a large chain with a price-matching policy. They said $489 was the list price and $469 was the lowest they'd go. What about their policy? "We don't match stupid prices!"

I then went to the other large store in the district - one of another large chain, also with price matching policy. Without a quibble they matched the $440 price, saving me a one-and-a- half hour return trip to the store that originally quoted that low price. Result: one happy customer. Of course, what I don't know is if they made a profit on the deal.

And all through the exercise I couldn't help but think of the similarity with someone trying to squeeze the last dollar of profit out of a typical computer sale. What a nasty bunch we customers are.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments